I was listening to a book called “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson (which I highly recommend if you are looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud) and she mentions a quote that slapped me upside the head in a good way; “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” This is so true. Why is it that so many of us don’t focus on who we are or what we have to offer until we are faced with someone who has something that we don’t. A perfect example of this is Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media outlet. As much as people enjoy the voyeurism of social media, it is destroying many people from the inside. We look at someone post a picture of a vacation to the Caribbean and instead of being happy for the person we are angry and possibly jealous that we didn’t go on such a vacation. We see people post weight loss pictures and instead of being happy for the person’s commitment to health we tell ourselves how fat we are or how out of shape we are. We come up with excuses as to why we cannot obtain what we perceive as perfection or the “perfect life” and like the fox who could not get the apple, we tell ourselves that is not the life you wanted anyway.
Why is it that we go to a bad place inside ourselves when we see someone who is happy, trying hard to achieve their own goals, taking a well deserved vacation, etc. My belief is that it is much harder to work on, fix, improve, understand, and love who we are and therefore it is easier to place the blame of our unhappiness on someone else’s success without even knowing their story. Instead of focusing on someone else’s story, let us focus on our own. If you are upset that you couldn’t take a vacation, why is that? Do you not have the money? The time? Do you not think you deserve a vacation? What can you do to change those circumstances? If you are jealous of someone’s weight loss, what are you doing to try to lose weight?
Life is not about comparison. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt "comparison is the thief of joy". Life is about YOUR journey, YOUR experiences, YOUR story. These are what make up your insides. What is your story? Your story is how you got to where you are today, who you are today and who you are going to be in the future. We cannot change the past but only understand how it helped create who we are today. We cannot predict the future, we can only make decisions today that will take us in the direction of where we wish to go. I believe many of us use comparison as a way for us to gage where we are, our progress if you will. But how does looking at someone else’s life, someone else’s story let us know if we are where we thought we would be? It can’t. Everyone has their own story, their own past, their own present and their own future. The beauty in this is that no two stories are the same.
It is this comparison that leads to unhappiness. By comparing our lives to the lives of others without taking into consideration their past or present we are creating a reality that doesn’t exist. According to the Dali Lama, the goal of life is happiness; obtaining it, sharing it and enjoying it. You will never be happy when you spend your life comparing yourself to others. Learn to love the life you have and stop comparing yourself to others. Happiness comes from knowing who you are, knowing that you are loved, knowing that you have what it takes to be where you want to be. Happiness is loving others, sharing experiences with others, learning to love the imperfections of life and not see them as a failure on your part. Happiness comes when you know what you can and cannot control. Happiness comes from living in the moment, knowing that the very second you are currently living will never happen again.
I encourage all of you who want to be happy, and I believe that is all of you, stop comparing yourself to others. Also, realize that happiness does not involve numbers (weight, money, cars, houses, etc.). Start living your life , the life that you created and make it an awesome one. If you don’t like the life that you are living, change it. I know that sounds simple but it is that simple. Only you have the power to change what you don’t like in your story. Think of your life like a photo album that your children’s children will look at one day. Do you want them to see a life well spent with family and friends? A life filled with smiles and laughter? A life filled with adventure and memories? Or do you want them to see a life that was empty, a photo album that is void of pictures because you were too sad comparing yourself to someone else’s story that you forgot to live your life? The choice is yours. Only you can write your story, and like a story, the ending has happened yet. The pages before you are blank, fill them with adventure, love, happiness, joy and amazing memories.